The photos, taken by the late photographer Bob Bickerdike and capturing Youghal’s social, sporting, political, and commercial activities, are stirring memories and emotions.
Hundreds of townspeople at home and abroad are logging on to view and identify the uncaptioned snapshots, which often transpire to feature themselves, family members, or friends.
Bob Bickerdike died in 2009, aged 89. His photos, of which there are thousands, provide a priceless anthology of local history with reminders of everything from the blessing of salmon boats to local pub scenes, drama productions, political rallies and sporting triumphs.
The pictures were primarily shot by the twin lens camera apparatus popular at the time.
The Bob Bickerdike Collection was discovered when local film-makers Kieran McCarthy, Michael Twomey and Michael Hussey wanted old pictures for a documentary on Youghal’s Redbarn dance hall.
“We contacted Bob’s son Vernon, in Glanmire, and he gave us over 1,000 to peruse,” says Kieran. “They are totally captivating. We decided to post some on Facebook and the demand for more rocketed.”
Born in Leitrim, Bob was originally a travelling circus performer and magician. Having worked in England, he settled in the 1960s in Youghal, where he married and raised three children.
He served on Youghal Urban Council in the 1980s and in 1983 was jailed for contempt of court after joining protests against ‘double taxation’ service charges. “He would reconnect disconnected water supplies,” says Vernon. “He was treated as a hero in jail.” A former trade unionist in Britain and vehement anti-war campaigner, the photographer protested against US aircraft at Shannon airport almost up to his death.
A leading figure in the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations, he received the ‘Working Class Hero 2009’ award.
There are now plans to exhibit the collection. See: thebobbickerdikephotocollection on Facebook.